Somalia’s political crisis deepened Monday after a coalition of opposition parties announced they no longer recognize President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, whose term expired with no political agreement on how to replace him.
The alliance issued a statement calling for the creation of a transitional national council to govern the Horn of Africa nation until elections can be held. The coalition said it would not accept any effort to extend President Mohamed’s term.
President Mohamed, commonly known by his nickname Farmajo, was seeking a second term through indirect elections that were scheduled to be held late last year. Clan leaders from each member state were set to choose the members of parliament, who would then elect the president.
But he has accused opposition leaders of backing out of a deal reached last September that established the electoral process.
Mohamed and Prime Minister Hussein Roble held three days of talks last week with the leaders of five federal member states in the town of Dhusamareb, located about 500 kilometers north of the capital, Mogadishu, in hopes of reaching a compromise. But the talks collapsed Saturday, and the leaders of the federal states of Puntland and Jubaland have said they will no longer recognize Mohamed as president.
Meanwhile 12 members of Somalia’s security forces were killed, and two others wounded on Sunday following a powerful roadside explosion in the village of El Dhere, located west of Dhusamareb. The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Seven militants were killed by government forces Friday after mortars were fired into Dhusamareb.
Somalia has been plagued by political instability and chaos since autocratic President Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, leading to years of clan warfare followed by the takeover of large parts of the country by al-Shabab.
The United States withdrew almost all of its troops from Somalia last month following an order from then-president Donald Trump. Despite the withdrawal, the U.S. military has continued conducting airstrikes against al-Shabab. This year so far, the U.S. has carried out six airstrikes, but none since President Joe Biden came to power on January 20.